Despite parsley being a biennial herb from the carrot family, it is not an unusual practice to cultivate parsley as an annual. Parsley has been highly valued – each and every part of it. During harvest time, growers harvest not just the leaves and stem of parsley, but its roots as well. True experts in herb flavoring know that the stronger flavor of parsley is found in its roots, not the leaves, although it is a common culinary practice to use the green leaves. Besides, the roots of parsley have a more important role: medicinal. While the leaves help nourish people by encouraging their appetite, the roots are used to heal those suffering from a wide variety of ailments.
Species: P. crispum
Binomial name: Petroselinum crispum
- Wreaths were made from parsley in the belief that it can prevent intoxication.
- Believe it or not, parsley seed oil is used to make shampoo, soap, and even shampoo.
- Cultivation of parsley started in the 3rd century BC.
Parsley Buying Guide
If you are buying parsley for cooking, you need to look for freshly-cut parsley leaves. Head to the fresh produce section of the grocery or supermarket and if they have them in stock, it will be on the fruit and vegetable display refrigerator. It is possible there are other herbs there that might look like parsley (like cilantro). Make sure to read the label on the packaging. If there is a farm stand or farmers market near you, make it a point to visit it first and source your parsley from local producers. Buy enough for immediate use, or buy a lot, preserve and store them for future use. Always check the condition of the leaves when buying.
If you want to plant parsley, potted parsley is usually sold in farmers markets or farm stands. But your best bet is a garden nursery. If you are already in the grocery or supermarket, you’ll probably spot a potted parsley plant sold there too.
Parsley Production & Farming in Texas
Parsley is hardy in zones 4 to 9. This means parsley can be grown in any part of Texas. Parsley grows well in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, preferably moist but not water-logged. Parsley enjoys full-sun as well as partly-shaded conditions, and if this is planted indoors, it should be placed near the window to get enough sun.
Common parsley pests include aphids, leafminers, beet armyworm, cutworm, cabbage looper, and wireworms.
- Aphids – Kills aphids destroying your spearmint using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control. Apply through foliar spraying.
- Leafminers – Deal with your leafminer problems by applying spinosad, a mixture of two chemicals called spinosyn A and spinosyn D typically used to control a wide variety of pests.
- Beet armyworm – To kill this pest, you can spray your spearmint with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spray. You can also opt for other insecticides as long as it contains bifenthrin, carbaryl, and permethrin.
- Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms attacking your spearmint. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
- Cabbage looper – Loopers – To kill this pest, you can spray your parsley with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spray, insecticidal soap spray, or anti-parasite spray spinosad.
- Wireworms – To rid parsley of wireworm, use pyrethrin or bifenthrin.
Parsley is native to Sardinia, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and in the southern part of Italy, although today, parsley is naturalized in almost every part of Europe. It was brought to England and cultivated in Britain in 1548.
Freshly-cut and freshly-packaged parsley are sold in the market or the produce section of the grocery in a sealed transparent clamshell plastic container. Dried and powdered parsley come in plastic or glass bottles, or in a plastic pack. You’ll find parsley seeds sold in plastic packaging too.
You can detect parsley in your food when you eat it. The mix of peppery taste and earthiness found in a dish is a clear handiwork of parsley and its trademark flavor. Eaten fresh, you will notice the bright, herbaceous taste of the leaves with a slightly bitter aftertaste enough for when it is needed in such amount in a particular dish, usually to contrast and highlight other complementary flavors present in the dish.
Put parsley leaves inside a plastic bag or wrap it in a paper cloth or towel before putting it inside the refrigerator. Use a freezer bag if you want to freeze it. A third option is filling ice cube trays with water and parsley leaves. You can dry these too. Use the microwave to flash-dry the leaves (start by heating it for 20 seconds and adjust accordingly depending on how the drying is turning out). Once it is brittle, you can crush it and put it inside an herb bottle or any container with a lid. Store somewhere cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. If you don’t have a microwave, try using a drying screen and place this in a warm, dry room to allow it to completely dry.
Parsley is commonly used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cuisines. Parsley is typically used as a garnish on potato dishes, rice, fish, chicken, lamb, goose, steaks, and meat or vegetable stews like shrimp creole, beef bourguignon, goulash, and chicken paprikash However, it is not uncommon for parsley to be used as an ingredient for soups, stews, and casseroles. The book Llewellyn’s 2010 Herbal Almanac provides a compelling endorsement of parsley. “Whether fresh, dried, or cooked, parsley is a welcome addition to almost any recipe. It pairs well with eggs, butter, starches, grains, and vegetables. Would chicken soup be so medicinal if there were no flecks of parsley floating among the noodles? I hazard to say it wouldn’t.” Lastly, parsley has been used in different parts of the world as part of a mixed herb concoction, from Brazil’s cheiro-verde to the French persillade to the Italian salsa verde.
Bright green in color and capable of thriving in temperate climates, subtropical and tropical areas, parsley is a nutritious herb that contains antioxidants and flavonoids. It also contains vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
- Calcium: 138.00mg
- Iron: 6.20mg
- Potassium: 554mg
- Sodium: 56mg
Parsley promotes bone, heart, and eye health. It also helps the body prevent the onset of cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
When Are Parsley in Season in Texas?
To find out when Parsley are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.